Category: Slash, Drama, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - October 11, 2018
Written: January 18-19,21, 2021
Summary: It's word game time at the Jackson-O'Neill residence, until there's a sudden turn of events that takes center stage.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): "Transitions: Another Ten Months" and "Fruitful Days"
Early this Thursday morning, the brood was up and around, but were feeling a bit bored. There was no homeschooling scheduled since their parents had a meeting with a new client in the afternoon and the two were actually sleeping in at the moment. Yesterday the family celebrated Brianna's eighteenth birthday and the lovers were tired from all the preparations and the party festivities that didn't end until after one in the morning.
The kids decided to have a Scrabble tournament and game play began before the clock struck nine. Four hours later, Little Danny was declared the champion. He smiled with humility and took a big bow, causing his siblings to laugh.
One thing led to another and the kids started playing a word game they created a few years ago. It didn't have a name, but it was all about stating an unusual word and seeing if anyone knew its definition.
Four rounds were already concluded when Jenny smugly called out, "Impignorate."
"Him pig what?" Ricky questioned his twin.
"Impignorate," the redhead repeated.
"I don't think that's in Webster," Jonny argued.
"It's in their unabridged dictionary," the girl noted. "No guesses?"
"I know," Aislinn interjected. "It has to do with security." She paused as her mind kept trying to pinpoint the meaning. "Yeah, like to mortgage your home or pawn expensive jewelry."
"Crap!" Jenny whined. "I thought for sure that was a winning word. "Your turn, Ash."
The kids weren't allowed to use their dictionaries to find a word. These had to be words they knew or came across through their studies or simply by listening to others use them. It didn't matter how they knew, just that they knew it and the word could be verified by looking it up in any dictionary, online or in the reference section of their library at home. Five minutes were allotted to think of a word before time expired and someone else would be able to put a word in play. The winner was whoever stumped the group first.
"One minute, Ash," Chenoa advised since she was serving as the official timer, something she enjoyed doing since it meant she didn't have to think of these unique words or have to determine their meanings.
"Let me think," Aislinn sighed.
"I have one," Jennifer said as she wobbled inside the living room, having just entered through the patio door.
"What is it?" Lulu asked.
"Whisper it to me," Aislinn requested, figuring Jennifer didn't really want to play the game."
"Parturition," Jennifer stated with a bit of a gasp.
There were several puzzled faces, including Little Danny. He thought he recalled the word, but he couldn't put his finger on it just yet. He looked at his oldest sister and sighed. Then he blinked. He blinked again. Involuntarily, his mouth opened.
"*Dad! Daddy! Come here quick!" the Munchkin shouted at the top of his lungs. "Are you okay, Jen?" he asked as he swiftly moved to her side.
"I think I need to sit down, but I'm not sure if I can get up again," Jennifer relied, her voice unusually strained.
"What's going on?" Aislinn asked, not understanding Little Danny's actions.
"Go get Dad and Daddy," the middle Munchkin ordered no one in particular. "Go! Jen's having our niece or nephew."
Everyone gasped and multiple kids ran into one another as they tried to bound up the stairs at the same time.
"Cut it out!" Jack called out as he and Daniel walked down the stairs. "What the heck are you doing?"
"Jen's having a baby!" JD exclaimed.
"We know that, Son."
"*Now*," came clarification from at least six of the brood.
"Hi," Jennifer eked out to her parents, a modest smile on her face that accompanied a halfhearted wave.
"Make room," Jack ordered, hurrying to his daughter. "Status?"
"Oh fudge," Jennifer responded.
Her use of 'fudge' told her parents what they needed to know as 'fudge' was her chosen swear word.
"Jen, sit," Jack ordered, helping the mother-to-be sit down in his favorite chair in the living room.
"Where's Peter?" Daniel inquired as he kneeled down, positioning himself to his daughter's right. Not waiting for a response, he turned to Brianna and instructed, "Call Aunt Janet."
"Daddy, I need my OB," Jennifer gasped, indicating she was further along in her delivery than anyone knew.
"We don't have her number," Jack stated. "We'll get Janet for backup. Do you have your phone on you?"
Jennifer shook her head and explained, "It's on the bed. I just woke up so scatterbrained today."
"What about Peter?"
"I threatened him with divorce if he didn't go out and get a pizza."
"Pizza?" Brianna repeated with surprise.
"I need it for the waffles," Jennifer elaborated.
"What do you mean?" David asked his birth sister.
"It's so yummy," Jennifer opined. "You put pizza on top of waffles and you smother it, I mean you really load it down with lots of apple sauce."
"Sis, you've lost your mind."
"Tell me that, little brother, when you have your ... <scream> baby."
Jack ordered, "Lulu, get Cassie and Dom!"
Dominic and Cassandra Luca currently resided in London, but they were in the States for a week on vacation, something Dominic negotiated for when he was promoted yet again and transferred to Italy. He felt his family deserved the all-expenses paid vacation in addition to the regular vacation his company provided employees. The move to Italy was planned for sometime in January. Their children were being cared for by their eager grandmother, Janet Fraiser. This allowed the married couple to enjoy some rare time alone, having received permission from Sam and Pete Shanahan to use their home. The Shanahans were in Europe where they'd been for several months as an experimental attempt was made to provide their daughter, Susie, with the capacity to hear.
The girl with the black curly hair ran out of the house and across the large backyard to the gate that separated her yard from her from the Shanahan home.
"*Aunt Cassie*! Uncle Dom" Lulu shouted. "I don't know the code to the gate. Please hurry!"
It was Dominic who responded to the call, opening the patio door and running to the gate where he immediately questioned, "Lulu, are you alright?"
"I am, but Jen's having her baby. Dad wants you and Aunt Cassie to come right away. We need help!"
"Tell your dad, we'll be right there."
"Okay. Thanks, Uncle Dom."
Back inside the house, everyone was anxious to see what would happen next.
"Should we move her? Take her to the hospital?" Daniel put forth to his husband.
"Let's wait for Cass."
Daniel coached quietly but firmly, "Okay, Jen, breathe ... in and out ... slowly. If it hurts, yell."
"Thanks for your permission, Daddy," the mother-to-be returned.
"You're welcome," Daniel acknowledged as he tried not to laugh.
"Jen, you sound like you've been in labor a while," Jack said. "Does that seem right to you?" he asked everyone around him.
"Aunt Cassie," Jennifer sighed upon seeing the other woman. "Help me. I'm having a ... a ..."
"I know, Jen. It's okay," Cassandra commented.
"Cass, did you forget something?" Jack prompted as he looked up at the long-haired mom of six. "Clothes?"
"I'm not naked, Uncle Jack," Cassandra returned as she drew the towel around her tighter. "Jen has terribly bad timing, but I don't think you want me to say anything else, do you, Uncle Jack?" Cassandra laughed at the general's inability to communicate at the moment. "Don't worry, Dom will be here in a minute with everything I need."
"Good to know," Jack finally responded.
"Where's Peter?" Cassandra inquired.
"He's looking for pizza," David stated innocently.
Jennifer drew another anxious breath and added, "And sauce: apple sauce. We're all out."
"David, call Peter and tell him to get his butt back here and forget the pizza and apple sauce," Jack instructed.
Jennifer sat up and shouted loudly, "But I want it and I want it now!" She let out with a powerful cry and then leaned back in the chair. "I want Peter, but I need my pizza waffle in sauce."
"Don't ask," David said when Cassandra gave him a probing look.
"Someone call an ambulance and the police." Jack let out a groan. ~Where's Shanahan when you need him?~ he bemoaned about the absence of Pete Shanahan who was a police detective in Colorado Springs.
"I'll do it," Jeff volunteered. "Should I turn off the rest of the security system?"
"Affirm," Jack answered succinctly.
Jeff walked to the kitchen and took his smartphone out of the pocket. He was going to call 9-1-1, but then he thought about Bill Krazz, the detective partner of his Uncle Pete. He told Krazz what was happening and was assured help was on the way. Next, Jeff pulled down the blackboard that hid the security system controls from view. He pressed the appropriate buttons and inputted the current access code that instantly turned off all of the security protocols within the family home.
Returning to the living room, Jeff reported, "I called Detective Krazz and ..."
"Yeah?" an impressed Jack responded. ~Wish I'd thought of that.~
"He says help is coming," Jeff relayed. "The security system is completely off."
"Thanks, Son," Jack acknowledged.
Cassandra, who gave birth to two children and adopted four others, was closely monitoring Jennifer, but was still unable to determine how far along she was in the labor process. Though her pregnancies were two months longer than those of earthlings, the process itself was very similar. Still, having been born on Hanka, she had to use her memory to recall those elements of human pregnancy that differed from those of a Hankan woman. Fact or fiction: what was true of human pregnancy versus what stories she made up to prevent her OB-GYN from becoming suspicious. Of course, it helped that another doctor actually delivered her babies and did so at Cheyenne Mountain. That doctor was, of course, her mother. The same deflective process was used for the birth of her second son, Donato Michelangelo Luca in 2016. Of course, it took all of a day before Jack contrived the boy's nickname of Donny.
"Jen, tell me about your morning. How long have you been in labor?"
"I don't know, Aunt Cassie. I've never done this before."
"You know something? I'm thirty-five now and you're twenty-three. You call my mom 'aunt' and that feels right, but we're more like good girlfriends, so why don't you drop the 'aunt' thing?"
"Jen, tell me what you did last night."
"I was restless. I had some stomach pain, but it was mild. There didn't seem any reason to be alarmed. It was just like tiny punches that only lasted a few seconds. Peter took me for a walk and then he made me a bubble bath and after that we just sat on the sofa and relaxed with some music playing."
"That sounds so nice," Chenoa crooned. "Very romantic."
"Not when you're nine months pregnant," Jennifer snarked. "Noa, I'm sorry."
"It's okay. Aunt Janet told me this happens a lot when women have babies. They say all kinds of mean things to people."
"I'm glad you understand," Jennifer returned, her breathing not as steady as Cassandra wanted it to be.
Jennifer talked some more about the previous evening and how she felt. Then Dominic finally arrived with a change of clothes for his wife.
"I'll be right back," Cassandra promised Jennifer.
"Use the study," Jack suggested.
"Thanks, Uncle Jack." Cassandra took the clothes to the study and changed out of her towel, replacing it with a tan shirt, pair of jeans, white socks, and sneakers. She was happy to see that her husband also thought to bring her purse. It was a quick change as she felt she needed to be at Jennifer's side. "Thanks, Dom," she spoke upon her return to the living room.
Sirens were heard way off in the distance, but no one knew whether those sirens were heading for the Jackson-O'Neill residence or somewhere else.
"You were probably in early labor last night," Cassandra suggested when she returned to the pregnant woman's side. "Did you call your OB?"
"No, I just thought I ate something that disagreed with me."
"I'm afraid to ask," Cassandra sighed.
"It's yummy, but you probably don't want to know," Jennifer admitted.
"For crying out loud," Jack spoke with frustration as a protective thought occurred to him. "Princess, did you lock up your house?"
"My house? Lock it? Dad, I barely remember where I live right now."
"It's okay." Jack looked at the prospects and made his choice. "Little Danny, you and Ash get over to your sister's house. She said her phone was on the bed. Get it. Find that doctor and call her. Her name is ... something Jetson."
"Aurelia Jetson," Jennifer advised. "She's in the directory, the address book. Peter has her number on the fridge, too."
"Kids, try to get Peter on the phone, too," Jack instructed. "When you're done ..." he paused. "Jen, do you have an overnight bag packed?"
"Of course. It's, um, by the front door. I came out the back; didn't think about it. My brain isn't working at all today."
"It's okay, Sweetie," Daniel assured with a gentle pat of her right hand.
Jack focused on the Munchkins again as he concluded, "Get that overnight bag and then lock the place up tight."
"Okay, Dad. Let's go Ash," Little Danny said, leading the way to Jennifer's home that was behind their own and just off to the left.
"Wait one," Jack called out. "Jen, did you change the security since the weekend?"
"No, it's the same."
Jack nodded and re-focused on the designated Munchkins as he stated, "Turn on the security system when you leave. The code is," he paused and looked over at the pregnant woman, "BabyOutNow - one word."
Aislinn couldn't help but laugh, as did the other females in the room, but Little Danny simply repeated it back for verification before heading out the door.
The military man issue was about to issue another directive, only his soulmate beat him to it.
"Jonny, go outside and wait for the ambulance. Bring them in as soon as they get here," Daniel directed.
"Yes, Daddy," the Munchkin acknowledged. "JD, why don't you come with me."
Jack smiled as his namesake and gave him a grateful nod for assuming responsibility for the young boy and distracting him for what was happening.
With JD out of hearing range, the Hankan woman inquired, "Jen, has your water broken?"
"No, not yet, not that I know of anyway," Jennifer answered, sounding like a little girl.
"That means we still have time," Cassandra opined. "How was your morning?"
"I don't think my Cheetos noodle soup agreed with me, either."
Daniel mouthed to his surrogate niece, "Cheetos noodle soup?"
Cassandra just shrugged and replied, "You don't want to know what I ate in the last two months of my pregnancies."
"It couldn't have been that bad," Brianna returned.
"Just wait, Bri, until it's your turn," Cassandra teased. "It's funny, though, because a lot of cravings happen earlier in pregnancies, but I had them the whole time."
"Maybe it was the pickles I added," Jennifer pondered. "I think it gave me a giant belly ache, but who can tell when your belly is so big you can't even walk through your house?"
Everyone knew that comment was a big exaggeration, but no one said a word to the young woman.
"I just kept moving around, trying to get comfy. I sat on the birthing ball for a while and that seemed to help a little. Peter massaged me, too. That felt good, except my stomach just didn't like my breakfast. Maybe it was the baby hitting me in revenge."
"Yes. I mean every six or seven minutes, I swear our baby was trying to tell me something."
"How about, 'hey, Mom. I'm ready to be born,'" Cassandra asserted with a pointed smiled.
"I ... ohhh ... Shibatwray!" Jennifer swore in a combination shout and scream.
"Jen, that's Daddy's swear word," Chenoa reminded quietly.
"Right now it's mine, and if Daddy doesn't like it, he can say 'fudge' and see if it does him any good."
Jack moved his head to the right and grimaced. His little girl was not going to have a pleasant birth experience if she kept spouting off like she was.
"It's okay, Jen. It's not my word. I just borrowed it from some aliens," Daniel noted.
"Oh ... it's ... my water just broke."
"All over my chair?" Jack questioned.
"Sorry, Dad. I'd offer to clean it up, but I'm a little busy right now."
"It's okay, Princess," Jack responded with care. "You just focus on yourself and our grandchild."
"Grandchild," Jennifer repeated with a sweet smile. "I'm having a baby."
"You sure are."
Over at the Hamilton home, Little Danny called Peter using his sister's phone which he actually found under the comforter on her bed. He gave his brother-in-law the message from his dad. He then called Doctor Jetson's office and let them know his sister was in labor. He and Aislinn retrieve the packed bag by the front door and then went all through the house, making sure all the windows and doors were locked. Their last check was, logically, the rear door which was also where the main security controls were located.
"BabyOutNow," Aislinn reminded, laughing. "Don't you get it, Little Danny?"
"I know. Woman get tired of carrying their babies in their wombs."
"Yeah, but they don't mean it," the young girl put forth.
"It's on," Little Danny noted, after which the Munchkins returned to their home.
JD ran inside the house and announced, "The police are here."
"Sir, you called for an ambulance?" an officer stated upon entry, stopping at the step that led to the living room.
"She's having a baby," Jack sighed, motioning towards Jennifer.
Jennifer screamed again.
"Okay, stay calm, Jen," Cassandra advised. "Contractions are four minutes apart. This is active labor." She looked at the patrolman and stated, "This woman needs to get to the hospital now."
The officer called in over the radio and inquired, "Dispatch, we have a ten-thirty-three: woman in labor. What's the ETA for the ambulance?" He rolled his eyes to the response. "We can't wait. We're en route to ..."
"Academy Hospital," Jack advised.
"That's almost an hour away," the officer pointed out.
"Cass?" Jack prompted.
"If we go now," Cassandra opined, adding, "but I wouldn't waste time arguing about it."
"Academy Hospital," Jack repeated with more force than before.
The officer nodded and re-engaged his radio, saying, "Dispatch, we're headed for the Academy Hospital. ETA: fifty minutes."
Jack smiled in approval at the shortened time. It was obvious sirens and lights would be employed by the officers while taking his daughter to the medical facility. Jack himself sometimes reached the hospital in forty-five minutes, depending on traffic and the pressure his right foot had on the gas pedal.
The adults assisted in getting Jennifer into the back of the police car. Cassandra rode with her, while Jack and Daniel gathered the brood, locked up their house, and took after the speeding patrol car. Dominic trailed behind the family in his rental vehicle.
Having left the Luca children with her husband, Teal'c, Janet was only five minutes away from the hospital at this point. The still mighty Jaffa promised his wife to teach the grandchildren about honor. They would have pizza and watch mud wrestling on TV. Janet wanted to suggest other activities, but needed to leave right away in order to reach the hospital on time, so left her husband to his own babysitting devices.
Jack and Daniel were pacing the corridors, while the children sat together in the waiting room, nervously hoping for an update. Both Peter and Cassandra were in with Jennifer. Doctor Jetson was handling the delivery with Janet assisting, though it wasn't really necessary.
"Little Danny, what does parturition mean?" Ricky asked.
"It means the process of bringing forth, like having a baby and bringing him or her into the world," the child prodigy answered.
"Oh, okay. Thanks."
Time passed and the children retrieved some snacks from the vending machines to go along with their juice and/or soda beverages.
Jenny let out a sigh as she looked at the clock and saw it was ten after eight. She yawned. Sitting in a hospital waiting room wasn't exactly the most exciting thing to do in the world.
"Having babies sure does take a long time," JD yawned as it was definitely his bedtime now.
"Boy of girl?" the Spitfire asked her siblings.
Everyone had an answer: "Boy!" "Girl" "Healthy."
The latter was Jack's answer and it received lots of smiles and nods.
"Hey, I just thought of something," Brianna called out. "Jen's giving birth on her actual due date."
"I thought first time mothers always delivered their babies late," Chenoa replied.
"That's a myth," Jonny surprised his siblings in saying. "I looked it up."
"It's not a myth," Little Danny argued. "You misread, Jonny."
"They said due dates aren't deadlines," Jonny returned. "And they can be inaccurate because of ... um ... stuff I don't want to talk about."
The females giggled, while the boys rolled their eyes.
"Statistics say less than five percent of first time moms have their babies on the due date, but over sixty percent deliver in the week after the due date."
"See, that's not really late," Jonny argued. "The due date could have been wrong."
"It's a guideline, Jonny," Aislinn put forward.
"Okay, geez. I'm not an expert," the oldest Munchkin sighed.
"You're an expert uncle," Jenny professed.
"Uncle?" Jonny repeated. He beamed with delight. "I wonder what that will be like? I mean, we have Aunt Sara and Aunt Sam ..."
"Jonny ..." Aislinn interrupted, giving him a look that requested he didn't list their entire extended family of technically unrelated aunts and uncles.
"I'm just saying it will be weird to be called Uncle Jonny."
"Aunt Ash," Jenny giggled.
"That's horrible sounding," Aislinn put forth. "Aunt Ash?"
Aislinn cringed and leaned over, putting her head in her hands while also shaking her head.
"Maybe you can have a nickname for your nickname," JD suggested.
Aislinn giggled at the notion and let out a sigh of relief. She decided being called Aunt Ash would take some getting used to, but it sure will be fun to play with her niece or nephew.
The topic of conversation changed as the clock ticked forward. Finally, Janet appeared. She was one giant grin.
"You have a grandchild," the petite physician announced.
"Boy or girl?" Jack asked.
"Healthy," Janet answered, getting a hug in response from Jack. "Jen and Peter want to see you both. I'll stay with the brood."
The couple walked into the labor room and saw Jennifer, all sweaty and her hair messy, but she was radiating beauty. She looked at her parents and smiled as she'd never smiled before.
"Look what I have," Jennifer said softly as Peter stood to her right.
The baby was wrapped in a blanket, so the sex was still unknown to the new grandparents.
"Would you like to hold her?" Jennifer asked her dad.
"Her?" Jack grinned as he took hold of the newborn. "Hello, I'm your granddad. See this guy over here? He's your granddaddy. It won't be that confusing as you grow up. Geez, you're beautiful."
The general turned and handed over the baby to his husband.
"Wow, this is, uh ... amazing. Hello." Daniel looked up at the baby's parents. "Have you chosen a name yet?"
"Yes, but I really need to talk to the brood about it and make sure it's okay before we make it official." Jennifer noted the curiosity on the faces of her parents. "I named her after the two strongest women I know. I thought about naming her after my mom, but she wasn't really interested in that type of thing."
"Tell them, Jen," Peter urged.
"Her name is Kayla Sophia Hamilton."
Daniel was overwhelmed by the selection of Kayla as a name. His heart was moved with emotion as he thought about Kayla Armentrout, the official birth mother for five of their children and the unofficial mother to at least one more.
"She would have liked that," the archaeologist opined.
"I remember Kayla told me she never wanted to be a mother, but she believed that giving birth is part of what made a woman, a woman." Jennifer smiled. "But I think she surprised herself with the triplets and the twins, and with us," she said, referring to the Mouseketeers. "She became a mother in spite of herself."
"She loved all of you," Daniel agreed.
"And, well, you know what Grandma Sophia means to me. I've learned so much from her about being brave and independent and surviving bad times. What do you think? Dad? Daddy?"
"Perfect," Jack responded.
"Absolutely perfect," Daniel agreed.
"Look, Danny, blue eyes," Jack observed.
"That could change, Dad," Jennifer warned.
"She wouldn't dare, would you, Princess? Blue eyes are incredible," Jack spoke sweetly to the newborn.
The Hamilton baby also had just a few light-colored hairs on her head, but it wasn't even enough to determine for sure what colors the hairs were. The snippets of light hair could be blonde or brown. They just weren't dark enough to tell what would end up becoming the dominant hair color.
Still thinking about the name of her child, Jennifer insisted, "I need to talk to the brood."
"We'll see what Doctor Jetson says," Jack replied. He saw a nurse and questioned, "Vitals?"
"Time of birth: 8:24 p.m. Weight: six pounds six ounces. Length: Fourteen-and-one-half."
"Thank you, Ma'am," the appreciative granddad responded. He also nodded in acknowledgment at her motion towards the door. "Danny, we need to go for a while."
"Here you go ... Dad," Daniel said to Peter as he passed the infant over to him. "You're going to be a terrific father. If you ever need advice, or someone to talk to, Dad and I are here. Believe me, we know what it means to be overwhelmed with a new baby."
"Thank you, Boban," Peter responded.
The grandparents left the parents alone to enjoy the new life that was now the center of their world.
Faced with eleven eager children and Jennifer's insistence that speaking with the brood could not wait for tomorrow, Doctor Jetson relented and allowed the children to visit their sister for a few minutes.
"We want to name her Kayla Sophia."
"After Mommy?" Aislinn asked brightly.
"Yes, but only if you guys don't mind."
"Why would we mind, Jen?" Little Danny returned. "We love Mommy and having your baby named after her, well, it sort of keeps her alive even more."
"That's part of the reason I wanted to name her Kayla. We all loved her so much, and she'll always be alive in our hearts, but I wanted her memory to continue on even after us."
"Munchkins! Spitfires! JD!" Jonny called out. "All in favor of Kayla Sophia, say 'aye'."
"Aye" times six rang out. "Mouseketeers, any objections?" Three negative responses were heard, everyone laughing when the new mom also responded. "Mavericks, anything to say?"
"The vote is yea," Jeff stated.
"For sure," Brianna added.
"Absolutely," Lulu agreed. "Can I hold her?"
"Sure, you can," Jennifer agreed, helping Lulu to hold the baby. "Hey, you're doing great supporting her head."
"I've been practicing," Lulu admitted.
"Okay, um, I'd like all of you to hold her, but I'm not sure right now is a good time to play pass around the baby. I mean, we're the Brady Bunch times two," Jennifer teased.
"We'll wait," Jonny sighed, watching as Lulu returned the babe to her sister's arms.
The visit came to end and the brood rejoined their parents and headed for the hospital exit.
"What do you think about your new niece?" Jonny happened to ask his youngest brother as the family walked down the corridor.
"She's small," JD answered.
"We all were small when we were born," Ricky told the boy.
"Wow, really? Glad we grew up. I don't think Sophie can play with Legos 'cause she's so small."
"Sophie?" echoed Brianna, Jonny, and Jenny at the same time.
"Gawd, no," Daniel sighed, seeing the smile forming on his lover's face. "Jack!"
"I'll be right back."
Daniel turned, watching his husband walk back towards Jennifer's room, and warned, "Jack, don't! At least wait for tomorrow."
"Too late, Daddy," David mused. "It's a done deal."
"Yep, Sophia is now Sophie," Aislinn stated.
"Finis," Little Danny agreed.
"Dad loves nicknames," Ricky put forward.
"What's wrong?" JD asked.
Daniel leaned forward, a gentle expression on his face, as he answered, "Nothing, JD. You see, you are your dad's son."
As the others laughed, JD corrected, "And your son, too. And Mommy's."
"That's right," Daniel returned as he straightened. ~Someday we're going to have to tell him the truth, but today's not the day. Gawd, a nickname and she's not even two hours old."
"Jen! Peter!" Jack called out.
"Ut oh," Jennifer responded. "Dad, why do you look at that?"
"Um, well, kinda smug, maybe a little ... pleased with yourself."
"I just wanted to say goodbye to Sophie one more time."
"Sophie? *Sophie*?" Jennifer called out in an incredulous voice. "Her name is Sophia."
"What's in a name?" Jack hunched forward slightly and put two fingers under the baby's chin. "You like that ... Sophie?"
Jennifer sighed and looked at her husband, saying, "He won't stop."
"Hey, don't blame me," Jack claimed. "JD came up with it just a minute ago."
"JD? And you didn't correct him?" Jennifer challenged. "You let him say it and you didn't tell him he said her name wrong, but you encouraged him, didn't you, Dad?"
Jack simply smiled, feeling extremely pleased at his youngest child's choice of nickname for his new granddaughter.
"Jen, do you remember Little Danny as a baby?"
"You weren't there at the very beginning, though, were you?"
"Um, no, but they were just a few months old when we met them for the first time."
Jack reminded, "They were actually about seven- or eight-months old. Little Danny was Little Danny by then."
"I don't understand, Dad."
"For the first few months of his young life, he was Michael."
"That's his middle name."
"Your daddy refused to call him Little Danny. He fought it every day."
"Geez, you wore Daddy out, didn't you, Dad?"
"Persistence," Jack responded. "So you take good care of little Sophie here and I'll see you tomorrow."
The Hamiltons watched the silver-haired man leave.
"Peter, he's determined. He has a nickname fetish and he won't stop. Besides, Sophie Hamilton works, too. Her name is still Sophia, but nicknames aren't so bad. Is that okay with you?"
"It's okay with me, if it's okay with you."
"Geez, poor Daddy. It must have been horrible," Jennifer chuckled. "Sophie, you're in for a wild ride with my dad and daddy, but they love you, so much. It'll be fun. I promise."
"Ten more minutes, Dad," a nurse called out. "Mom needs her rest."
Jennifer and Peter took their last minutes together to simply enjoy their daughter. Life was already different and they both knew it.
"What a day," Jack sighed. "Crap! Danny, we forgot our meeting!"
"I sent a text to Karissa. She handled it."
"Good. Cassie did great," the general praised.
"Better than we did," the archaeologist pointed out. "The children handled everything very well I thought."
"Yeah, they were more ready than we were." Jack paused. "Danny ..."
"Sleep, Jack," was the reply to the unstated statement. "We have another big day tomorrow, helping to bring our granddaughter home. Let's get some sleep."
"You're on," Jack responded with yawn he attempted to stifle, but didn't succeed at doing.
The lovers quickly drifted off to sleep, both wearing smiles and having nothing but good thoughts in their hearts. They were now officially grandfathers and that was new territory to be explored. They didn't feel old at all; rather, they felt young with the presence of new youth in their lives. For the Jackson-O'Neills, life just got better than ever.y
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